2020 has been an atypical year. One that brought with it advances in technology that would have taken years to arrive. Especially in the health sector, thanks to the strengthening of telemedicine and its use for online diagnosis. Behaviour that could be related to changes in e-health and public health policy related to the pandemic.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020), telemedicine in the United States had an increase of 154% during the last week of March, if we compare it with the previous year. Meanwhile, in Spain, this increase was 153%. An increase that has been strengthened by telemedicine services such as Movistar Salud; about which you can obtain more information through the Living App Movistar Salud.
Without a doubt, Spain is one of the countries that bets on this modality. In fact, since 1990 the General Directorate of Telecommunications of Spain has been sponsoring e-health projects. An example of this is the Canary Islands Health Videophone Network.
Recently, these online diagnostic projects are focused on achieving national coverage. The most recent program is called Online Health. This is a project that provides coverage to 43 of the 46 million citizens enrolled in the National Health System.
What are the advantages of telemedicine and online diagnosis?
Telemedicine is defined as the provision of health care services. A service that is provided remotely through the use of technology. Online diagnosis can include making medical visits through the computer, to monitoring the vital signs of patients remotely.
Using technology to deliver health care has several advantages. For this and other reasons, the use of online medical consultations has grown significantly over the last decade. From the patient’s point of view, these benefits include:
- Cost savings.
- Convenience in travel times.
The ability to provide care for people with mobility limitations. Especially those in rural areas who do not have access to a local doctor or clinic.
Medical service providers also benefit from online diagnostic consultations. These include low overhead costs. In addition to reducing exposure to diseases and infections and increasing patient satisfaction due to the agility of care.
How online diagnostic consultations work in telemedicine
Telemedicine works by providing both the healthcare professional and the patient with a means to make video calls. The online video consultation software allows patients to book an agreed time for their diagnosis online. All this, with the aim of meeting with a healthcare professional in a virtual environment. Queries happen as follows:
- The patient calls the doctor’s office or health service to request an appointment.
- The receptionist and the patient agree on a mutual time for the video call.
- The receptionist sends a message with a click to make a video call.
- The patient joins through their unique secure link.
- The health professional joins through a virtual meeting room and follows his itinerary by consulting the virtual appointment calendar.
- The connection is made with an initial assessment. In this step, the GP analyzes the symptoms and carries out the pertinent controls.
- Some cases contemplate the use of a smartphone with video assistance to perform the online diagnosis. An example can be given by asking the patient to place the phone on his chest to observe breathing.
- As the last step, the online doctor can request emergency assistance from the patient or prescribe an online prescription for over-the-counter drugs suggested through the platform, directly to the person’s email or through an online messaging service.